When it comes to teen pregnancy- know your rights!

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May is National Teen (Unintended) Pregnancy Prevention Month! This month, celebrate the progress that’s already been made to reduce unintended teen pregnancy rates, learn the facts, learn your rights, and get involved to keep US teen pregnancy rates on the decline.

When we say “unintended” pregnancies, what do we mean?

An unintended pregnancy is when someone gets pregnant who did not want to become pregnant, or became pregnant “too soon,” before they were ready. Making a decision surrounding pregnancy can be stressful, especially for teens who may end up there unexpectedly.

Young people should be able to decide if and when they become pregnant so that they can better plan for the future they want!

Preventing Unintended Pregnancies

We can prevent unplanned pregnancy together by making sure teens have all the information and tools they need to make the decisions that are best for themselves! That means increasing access to and knowledge about birth control options, as well as making sure teens are empowered to make healthy choices about sex, whether it be consenting or abstaining.

Quick facts:

  • About 77 percent of teen pregnancies are unintended
  • Many teen moms can be and are successful, but caring for a child can place extra stress on teens, especially when the pregnancy was unplanned. Only 40% of teen moms finish high school, and less than 2% finish college by age 30. One-third of all female high school drop outs cite pregnancy as a main reason.
  • Teen pregnancy rates have drastically declined in the past 50 years across all states (by 70% !!). While that’s great news, we still have some high numbers – the U.S. has the highest teen unintended pregnancy rate in all of the industrialized world.

Know your Rights!

    • Get Affordable Care – Uninsured? Low-income? No problem. Check out your options, whether it’s applying for Medi-Cal, or accessing California’s family planning program, Family PACT, for access to FREE sexual and reproductive services.
    • Get Confidential Care–  As a California teen, you have the right to free and confidential access to a variety of sexual and reproductive health care services, like birth control and STD testing and treatment. California law REQUIRES your doctor to ask for your consent before releasing any of your information.
      • On your parent’s or someone else’s insurance and don’t want them to find out? Don’t worry! Learn about the steps you need to take to keep that information private if you need to, so you can get the care you need.
    • Get the Birth Control Method of Your Choice Covered – In 2016, CA passed SB 1053 to make sure that anyone with health insurance can receive full coverage for all contraception methods approved by the FDA. Find out what birth control method might be best for you!
    • Get Out of School for Sensitive Services – California teens may be excused from school to access sexual and reproductive health services WITHOUT needing their parents' or guardians' permission and without them being notified.
    • Teen Parents Have Rights Too – If you are a teen parent, or know someone who is, make sure you are getting the support you need from your school!
      • It's your right to keep going to school while you're pregnant and after your baby is born. It's against the law for schools to treat you differently because you're pregnant or a parent.
      • It is California law that schools MUST provide parenting teens with a safe, private space to pump and store breast milk at school
      • Click here for more resources!

Take Action!

-          Educate others! Use hashtag #TalkingIsPower to spread the word about National Teen Pregnancy Prevention month

-          Follow Power to Decide, the campaign to prevent unintended pregnancies. Check out their website to learn more about what they do and how you can get involved!

-          Raise your voice! Say, “Thanks, Birth Control!” every chance you get, and use #ThxBirthControl on social media to share your stories and to show your support for full range access to birth control!

Let’s be honest:

The only way to be sure to NOT be at risk for unintended pregnancy, is to NOT have sex. If you are sexually active, find a clinic near you and to talk to a provider about the birth control methods that could best meet your needs. You can also take this quiz to see how prepared you are to make big decisions about sex.